Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Not dwelling

In the past I have advocated analyzing our mistakes and failures so as not to repeat them. There is a flip side to this as well: it is important not to dwell on our defeats. When things start to go bad it is easy to keep saying to one’s self I wish this was not happening to me. When we do this we create a negative mood, a feeling of defeat. This feeling can cause us to fall in to a whirlpool that will drag us away from the solution to our problem. Dwelling on the negative aspects of a situation we create the breeding ground for self defeat. So how do we stop dwelling on the negative?

1. Take stock of what you do have. Focus your thoughts on the tools you have available to change your situation. By doing this you not only start thinking about solutions but you shift your inner gaze from the negative aspects of the situation.

2. Focus on past accomplishments. If you tend to dwell on the negative when you have a quiet moment or when you can't sleep start making a mental list of achievements. When you find yourself starting to dwell on the negative run through your list and find a positive to dwell on. When you do this don't make excuses for your successes. It does not matter if you had help doing something or if the success was the result of another person’s idea it is still your success as well.

3. Look for the opportunity. When plans fall apart and we find ourselves at loose ends it is time to look for the open doors. Life is full of opportunity to change our path but we so often disregard them. When you are dwelling on how bad a situation is look for what it opens up to rather then staring longingly at the things that you are now cut off from.

4. Give despair its moment but no more. Sometimes we have to give in to the regret and negativity. This can be the only way to process it. When this is the case give yourself the time you need to feel down take ten minutes and wallow in self pity but when those ten minutes are up you are done! Now it is time to refocus and make change.

While it is important to look at our past actions to teach ourselves better ways of acting in the future we must not let the past become an anchor for our present. When you catch yourself dwelling on the negative how do you get back on track? Let us know in the comments and have a great day!n the negative how do you get back on track? Let us know in the comments and have a great day!


Pseudonymous said...

I think the biggest tool I use to not dwell on things is list making, and making positive choices.

List making i've use for a long time and it's fairly straightforward and rote. Make a list of a few things you CAN do today, and feel good and successful for having done them!

Making positive choices is way harder, I think. In my life it's gone from being a silly idea I never heed, to a question i ask and always answer wrong, to a question that I ask and now, sometimes, give the right answer. Exercise is usually my best bet for making a better choice, but sometimes meditation is helpful to. Sometimes just making a list is a better choice when i'm feeling down.

What i struggle with most I think is actually giving myself that moment, and then stopping. When the situation you're trying to fix isn't something you can simply take action against (like having a cold and being incapacitated), it becomes way too easy to dwell and very hard to accept and still make some positive steps, even if they aren't the ones you'd hoped for.

So, I'm going to take a few positive steps:
1. Plug in the new heater and start getting some heat in this house
2. Send Kelly the file I promised her
3. Let myself lie down and relax without berating myself for about an hour
4. Take the pup for a walk
5. Start a new list

Thanks Quinn, I really needed this today


Quinn said...


Your welcome. One way to give the moment and then stop is use a timer, something with a bell or buzzer, set it for ten minutes and then let yourself be down when it rings have something happy planned. Even if it is just quality time with pets or eating a piece of chocolate. Let the bell or buzzer change the tone of the day and don't look back.

Belinda Munoz said...

These are good points, Quinn and for me, #3 and #4 are very important. I've made so many mistakes that I've become very good at not dwelling by doing #3, because there is always an opportunity for a new, and sometimes even better path. #4 is also sound advice because sometimes, it's not so easy to dust ourselves off -- we need that just be until the pain passes. WHen it does, it becomes easier to let go and move on.

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